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Josef Koudelka:  the theatrics of life

Dec 18, 2013

Josef Koudelka: the theatrics of life

by John L. Tran

Wild white hair and beard, but dressed in a drab, olive shirt and combat jacket, Josef Koudelka is like a guerrilla Father Christmas. Wearing scuffed shoes, and with a roughly unceremonious joviality, the Czech photographer appears uncomfortable being stalked around his exhibition by dozens ...

The noisy posters of the silent 1920s

Dec 11, 2013

The noisy posters of the silent 1920s

by C.B. Liddell

When the Communists seized control of Russia in late 1917, they found themselves in a difficult position. According to Marxist theory, the revolution should have happened hundreds of miles further west in one of the more industrialized countries, such as Britain or Germany, with ...

Somewhere between art and craft lies the beauty of Satoshi Someya

Dec 11, 2013

Somewhere between art and craft lies the beauty of Satoshi Someya

by Matthew Larking

Satoshi Someya has produced a cerebrally engaging and visually alluring exhibition. His “Digesting Decoration” positions him among the most significant contemporary lacquer artists working today. The primary concern is with “use,” as in the particularly utilitarian function of craft, as opposed to the ostensible ...

Recalling nature's fury abstractly in oils

Dec 10, 2013

Recalling nature's fury abstractly in oils

by Edward M. Gómez

As someone who was born and brought up in Bosnia, educated in Germany and is now based in New York, why should artist Amer Kobaslija have reacted as passionately as he did on hearing about the earthquake and the tsunami that struck Japan’s Tohoku ...

Trapped by human society

Dec 4, 2013

Trapped by human society

by Matthew Larking

Osaka-born Tetsumi Kudo’s oeuvre has been the subject of a number of major international retrospectives since his death in 1990, and these indicate the artist’s increasing postwar historical significance. The current National Museum of Art, Osaka retrospective is magisterial. With more than 600 pages, ...

A modern view of a neglected Impressionist

Dec 4, 2013

A modern view of a neglected Impressionist

by C.B. Liddell

The French painter Gustave Caillebotte has suffered more than most from the fact that he wasn’t Monet, Manet, or Renoir. As one of the second-ranking Impressionists, he has long been in the shadow of these more famous names with which his career is associated. ...

The Imperial Household of tradition

Nov 27, 2013

The Imperial Household of tradition

by Matthew Larking

The catalog for The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto’s exhibition, “Treasures of the Imperial Collection: The Quintessence of Modern Japanese Art,” tells us that this “sublime collection of resplendent masterpieces shines brilliantly in the history of modern Japanese art.” The collection, represented here ...

Tea bowls, simple emblems of power

Nov 20, 2013

Tea bowls, simple emblems of power

by Yoko Haruhara

“Ido Tea Bowls: Treasured Possessions of Muromachi Daimyo,” currently showing at the Nezu Museum, presents an array of 72 rare tea bowls that were once owned by renowned warlords, tea masters and Buddhist temples. Produced by country potters in kilns in Korea’s South Kyungsang ...

The Charles in Charlie Brown

Nov 20, 2013

The Charles in Charlie Brown

by Patrick ST. Michel

The advertising surrounding “Ever and Never: The Art of Peanuts” focuses on the cutest character from the classic American comic strip. So much so, promotions for this exhibition at the Mori Arts Center Gallery has been dubbed the “Snoopy Exhibit,” a title that also ...

The politics behind Japan's modern era of proletarian art

Nov 13, 2013

The politics behind Japan's modern era of proletarian art

by Matthew Larking

“Art and Literature in Japan 1926-1936″ follows the close of the Taisho Era (1912-1926), which was characterized by democracy, artistic experimentation and widespread social self-absorptions by the citizenry in new fashions such as the “beach pajama” outfits of “modern” girls. The successive Showa Era ...